U.S. Treasury postpones decision on handing over Donald Trump's tax returns

Apr 14, 2019, 00:09
U.S. Treasury postpones decision on handing over Donald Trump's tax returns

The Internal Revenue Service missed the April 10 deadline to provide the House Ways and Means Committee with six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax filings, but the committee's Democratic leadership has given the IRS a little more time to comply, calling the agency's concerns about the request meritless.

Neal, D-Mass., argues that a 1920-era law saying the IRS "shall furnish" any tax return requested by Congress "is unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues" and that the Treasury Department's objections lack merit.

Mnuchin, who has consulted with the White House and Department of Justice about Trump's tax returns, said earlier this week that Neal's request raised concerns about the scope of the committee's authority, privacy protections for USA taxpayers and the legislative objective of lawmakers in seeking the documents.

Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal sent the IRS a request for Trump tax information on April 3, citing a portion of the IRS Code giving certain committees authority to access "any return or return information".

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Mr Trump himself has claimed that he can not release his tax returns because they are under audit, although technically there is nothing preventing him from doing so. If the U.S. Treasury Department denies requests from Congress for the president's federal tax returns, they would at least have a chance of getting his state returns.

"For good reason, it would be a gross abuse of power for the majority to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, and intimidate their political opponents".

The House Democrats' asked that the returns be turned over to the members of Congress.

Mnuchin said that Treasury Department lawyers have been working "diligently" to research the issues involved and have been in contact with Justice Department attorneys.

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"I expect a reply from the IRS by 5:00 p.m. on April 23, 2019".

Constitutionally, Neal has the power to demand the IRS release tax returns for any United States individual. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed.

Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has said Democrats will "never" see the returns, "nor should they", and "they know it".

He said Treasury respects lawmakers' oversight duties and would make sure taxpayer protections would be "scrupulously observed, consistent with my statutory responsibilities" as the department reviews the request.

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